My Media Week: Bob Shennan

Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 Music, 'Waterloo Road', 'The Only Way is Essex' and news on Bin Laden. A busy week for Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music.

Bob Shennan: controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music (photo: BBC/Richard Cannon)
Bob Shennan: controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music (photo: BBC/Richard Cannon)


Watch my beloved Liverpool thump Newcastle 3-0 and follow up with a quick browse on the website for more in-depth news of our triumph. 

Sunday night is one of my favourite times of the week on Radio 2, in particular The David Jacobs Collection at 11pm. He's a true master of his art and his show is a treasure trove of songs, many of which I’ve never heard before.  


On a usual workday, I get up at 6am, listen religiously to Vanessa Feltz and Chris Evans, but also snatch a bit of Today and 5 Live. But today (a bank holiday), I’m up luxuriously late and stroll to the newsagent to pick up The Guardian and The Times. I flick straight to the previews of 'You can call me Paul: Johnnie Walker meets Paul Simon'.

These little gems are the programmes our audience values the most and I’m most proud of, but I spend so much time planning and commissioning, I often miss the broadcasts. In fact, I miss so much good stuff over both stations that I live in a perpetual state of guilt. If I can't catch shows live, then I'll often listen again via throughout the day.

Along with the rest of the world, I awake to the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead and spend a few hours glued to BBC News. Shelagh Fogarty makes a brilliant lunchtime debut on 5 Live. I put her onto breakfast when I ran 5 Live and was delighted that she got this chance and executed it so well.


My daily 40-minute train journey into Marylebone is when I dive into the newspapers. I try and rotate papers, but more often than not end up reading the Daily Mail. Today, I pick The Daily Telegraph to read critic Gillian Reynold's wise words on the world of radio.

Over lunch I enjoy a bit of Andy Gray and Richard Keys on TalkSport dissecting the forthcoming champions league matches – did I mention I’m a football fan?

It’s an important moment at 3pm, as Lord Patten addresses the BBC in his first week as BBC Chairman. He acknowledges that the BBC is one of the great journalistic organisations in the world, but doesn’t shy away from the fact that there are challenging times ahead.

Spend the evening with fellow radio controllers and BBC director general Mark Thompson to discuss the coming year. I'm currently planning what Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music will be doing to cover next year's Olympic Games, as well as the Diamond Jubilee. It's going to be a huge year for the country and we'll be getting heavily involved.  


I catch a little of Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on Radio 6 Music, who sound like they've been on the network for years even though they started only weeks ago.

This is one of the biggest moves we’ve overseen and a real statement of our commitment to driving 6 Music’s reputation.

Taking two such iconic broadcasters out of an evening Radio 2 slot into the heart of daytime on 6 Music is exciting, bold and not without risk.

Meet up with David Ramsden from Children in Need to talk about how Radio 2 can support the charity this year. I'm a trustee, so it's a priority that the station continues to raise millions of pounds, with Chris Evans and Terry Wogan playing key parts in the station's efforts.

Having seen first hand how the money is spent, I feel it's one of the most important aspects of my job.

Spend the evening at home with my teenage kids, thus end up half watching 'Waterloo Road' and 'The Only Way is Essex'. When I finally regain control of the remote, I catch Manchester United stuffing Schalke, which will make for a fantastic Champions League final. I know who I want to win!


Spend the morning with Jeff Smith, Radio 2 and 6 Music head of music, as we’re giving a joint presentation on the station's music policy to the great and good at Warner Music. It's important that the music industry understand what our listeners want to listen to, and how we can provide outlets for their artists' music. 

At noon, I chair the Radio 2 and 6 Music station management meeting, where the senior management of both networks get together to discuss programming and share good news. We'll often review programmes, give our views on deputy presenters, and take on board feedback from audience research.

I have a confession: I’m officially addicted to baseball. Tonight my favourite team, Boston Red Sox, get beaten by the Los Angeles Angels on ESPN, but in need of another fix I go on for matches that aren't shown on TV and more baseball news.

I once flew to Boston over a weekend to watch a game. I spent less than 24 hours on the ground, but it was worth it.  


Today’s commute is thoroughly enjoyable as I listen on my mp3 player to Chris Evans’ brilliant interview with Hugh Laurie – what a great chat. His story about cycling away from Sainsbury's in Camden with the lock still intact makes me break the morning commuters’ unofficial "no chuckling" code.

Catch up with Lewis Carnie, Radio 2 head of programmes, who has just signed a deal bringing Irish presenter Ryan Tubridy to the UK. He’s going to cover for Graham Norton’s eight-week summer break. Ryan is the host of 'The Late Late Show' and I think he's going to be a hit with the Radio 2 listeners.

Come late afternoon, I down tools and head to the Royal Albert Hall to see Nitin Sawhney. One of the great privileges of working at Radio 2 is getting to see a lot of live performances, but this breaks the mould. A real treat, and a relaxing end to a frantic week.


Driving to the football I listen to Tony Blackburn present 'Pick of the Pops’. Tony’s probably in his 40th year of broadcasting, yet he still sounds as excited as he ever has. I was delighted when he joined Radio 2 last year, and he told me that he'd never been more excited about a job.

My local team Wycombe is playing Southend. If I can't get to Anfield, Adams Park is a little handier. Anyway, my son Joe is doing commentary for the local hospital radio, so we're there ridiculously early.

It takes me back to my beginnings in football reporting and my time running the BBC sports department. It’s a win for the Chairboys and they're promoted.

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